Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Basil
This is a classic Italian dish. It really embodies the simplicity of Mediterranean food and is the dish all Italians eat. Don’t let its simplicity mislead you – it’s a healthy, light and delicious meal. My advice is to use good quality spaghetti or fresh egg tagliatelle.
You Will Need
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp onion – finely chopped
- 400g tinned tomatoes
- 10 fresh basil leaves, plus more to garnish
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 200g spaghetti or 250gr egg fettuccine
- 50g grated Parmigiano – Reggiano
Method for the Tomato Sauce
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion, making sure it doesn’t brown.
2. Add the tinned tomatoes, basil leaves, salt and sugar to the pan. Keep a few basil leaves aside for decoration.
3. Cook the sauce for about 15 minutes over a medium-low heat. You can cover it to avoid unsightly splatters, but do not seal the pan entirely.
4. Using the instructions below for perfect pasta, cook yours al dente.
5. When it is ready, drain the pasta, then mix it in with the tomato sauce.
6. Add the grated Parmigiano – Reggiano and toss everything together for a minute.
7. Lastly, sprinkle some basil over and serve the dish hot.
Preparing the Perfect Pasta
1. Never break spaghetti in half. This is a mortal sin in my book!
2. Pasta should be cooked al dente (with a little bite). This gives it a nicer texture and makes it easier to digest.
3. For each 100g of pasta, use 1 litre of water and 7g of salt.
4. Use a very large pot that can hold up to at least 6 litres of water.
5. Make sure the water is boiling, and add the salt when the water boils, not when the pasta is cooking.
6. Do not put oil in the water.
7. Fresh pasta cooks much quicker.
8. Always add the pasta into the sauce and not the other way around. Toss it to make sure the sauce is absorbed.
9. Pasta and chicken simply do not go together. This is another mortal sin for any Italian.
10. Do not pre-cook pasta. Pasta must always be cooked fresh for each dish.